Fighting negative diabetes perceptions
and because of it the most common phrase I hear when I tell someone I have diabetes is the incredulous “Really!!! but you do not look like someone with diabetes.” I can see myself ballooning into an 800 pound behemoth in their eyes the very Instant I make my revelation. Now unless I am the Moronic Donna Simpsons or Susanne Emans of the world This always pisses me hell off.
Ignorance and fear is the root cause of negative diabetes perceptions and from such a dwelling place comes finger pointing and blame intended to make others feel inferior to us.
So how do we fight these negative diabetes perceptions? How do we educate and share truths??
There is no simple answer or straight forward solution to this problem and here is why.
My son goes to school about 20 miles from where I currently live. He has been in the same school since kindergarten and although I have moved from that suburb, we love the school so much that I kept him there. For the commute I have to drive on the freeway which by passes a certain suburb and for the past 2 years I have been pulled over by the police about five times and in all those five times I have never been cited or given a ticket for any reason whatsoever.
Here is the typical conversation when I get pulled over..
Cop: License and registration
Me: Here you go officer
Cop: Do you know why I pulled you over?
Cop: Who is the owner of this car?
Me: Well this is my girlfriends car.
Cop: Ok sit tight. (goes checks my information and comes back)
Cop from incident 1: Where are you going? Me: Pick up my son from school. Cop: OK have a nice day
Cop from incident 2: The reason I pulled over is because you have too many air fresheners attached to your windshield and that can cause an accident. Please remove them and have a nice day.
Cop from Incident 3: OK have a nice day. Me: Didn’t you pull me over 2 weeks ago because I remember you. Cop: No that wasn’t me. Have a nice day sir
Cop from Incident 4: Have a nice day sir and do not forget to wear your seat belt.
Cop from Incident 5: Do you mind if I look in the trunk? Me: Why? Cop: Your trunk seems to be riding kinda low. Me: Well its winter sir and I have some salt back there to weigh it down so I don’t slip and slide. Cop: Do you mind if I take a peek. Me: Sure. Cop: Oh I see, OK have a good day sir.
Now this all might be summed up as coincidence or statistics. Traveling on the same road 4 times a day, five days a week maybe six hundred times without rousing some kind of interest or suspicion from Johnny Law. But more likely than not I am being profiled.
Wrong skin color, the dread locks I had or maybe it was the car I was driving. It very well Could be a thousand different reasons and yet I will always come back to the profiling.
My perceptions of the Police and their perceptions of me are very much intertwined both coming from a place of personal prejudice and history, and truth be told this is not about to change anytime soon. The incidences just acted as a buffer to enforce my negative views of the them and unless I am shown otherwise, those perceptions remain.
The greatest weapon against negative perceptions is education.
As tiring and monotonic it gets to educate people of the different types of diabetes, how eating too much sugar will not give them diabetes, how not every Fat person in America is diabetic and not any diabetic is a fat slob. It is the only alternative current circumstances present.
It is OK to react in anger sometimes and crack whips at those panderers who should know better, lord knows I have but the masses just do not know any better…
I would like to hear from you on how you handled a situation where someone came at you with negative perceptions about your diabetes..